Rise of the Fractional CMO is Altering the Marketing Industry

Jan 20, 2020

There is a growing misconception that an organization requires an in house Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to implement a marketing program successfully. This pretense couldn’t be further from reality. The gig economy and CMO role evolution over the past decade are directly impacting CMOs who are becoming one of the shortest tenures among the C-Suite. As a result of this trend, a fractional CMO or interim CMO may be the perfect fit for your company’s evolving strategy.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute report, only fifty-seven percent of CMOs are in their position for three years or less, with the typical tenure being just over four years. This tenure is often almost half the time of the average CEO tenure and fewer than the standard five years for CFOs. 

So, when considering the marketing direction of your business, an interim or fractional CMO should be top of mind, and this article will substantiate many of the reasons why leading organizations are following this trend.

The current state of digital marketing requires organizations to be agile and versatile. This further increases with the constant state of change in marketing technology, methods, and the ways businesses achieve marketing objectives. Up-skilling and increasing the knowledge of your marketing team is an ongoing evolution. It requires a senior leader who has been there and done that.

What is the Inspiration For Your New CMO?

So you’ve decided you need a CMO or a new CMO for your business. What are the subsequent steps for your business, and the way you envision the CMO role in your organization? It’s essential to hire a CMO can grow your business while overhauling the marketing function. It is vital, therefore, to have a clear role definition of your CMOs provide a foundation for success. As marketing tactics and businesses evolve, as a result, the role of the CMO has also grown insignificant and continues to grow as companies go through more considerable digital disruption.

The Growing Trend to Move From Traditional Marketing and Therefore New Expertise

In the past, CMOs were responsible for traditional marketing and advertising. With the worldwide consumer base now becoming more integrated and complex, successful CMOs must embrace change and broaden their scope. The CMO must be conscious of the newest trends, methods, and digital disruptions. Keeping up with all of these new insights is a significant task.

This situation is where a fractional CMO or interim CMO comes into play. These leaders bring a wealth of knowledge and experience because they are working across a multitude of clients and industries.

Engagement and Storytelling is Significant, An Interim or Fractional CMO can Take it to the Next Level

As digital resources become more prevalent in business outcomes, customers are moving toward an interactive experience consumer experience. They’re now engaging with brand stories that appeal to their emotions and preferences. Creating these brand strategies is often why CMOs now need to specialize in emotional instead of intellectual engagement. 

In the past, the way organizations communicated required little customer feedback. And, thus, what happened was storytelling without the customer in mind. With the web, marketing must now traverse the noise. It is making engagement more critical now than within the past. The audience of a business needs to feel important, and traditional marketing methods have often ignored this audience in their approaches.

Ten Scenarios For Outsourcing to an On-Demand Interim or Fractional CMO:

  1. You have a robust marketing team; however, they are tactical in nature. You also lack a seasoned marketing professional sitting at the table where company decisions are made that pertain to strategy, mission, growth, and change.
  2. Your organization lacks a marketing strategy or plan and the leadership to create it.
  3. It would be best if you had a sustainable marketing engine and analytics that can deliver actionable results.
  4. You spend money on marketing, though you see little ROI or don’t have the capabilities or business intelligence to trace budgets, measure performance, or forecast results.
  5. You need better competitive analysis and marketing research to understand if you’re lecturing the proper people and delivering the appropriate products and services.
  6. It would help if you had a comprehensive assessment of selling and marketing tactics, team members, and capabilities to ensure long-term success.
  7. You understand that a digital transformation strategy can improve your business, yet you lack the marketing expertise to undertake the changes.
  8. You want to implement advanced tactics or implement marketing technologies to assist the organization best utilize their data and assets to enhance the customer experience.
  9. You need an expert who will assist you improve brand loyalty, reduce churn, and supports business growth.
  10. You are not satisfied with marketing results, and therefore the impact on revenue and know that you only are missing out on existing market opportunities.

Why Hiring an Interim CMO Offers You Flexibility and Price Savings Versus an FTE

Marketing organizations are growing more complex, as businesses operating at the speed of the web and industry changes are the norm. Senior marketing leaders must be able to bring the acumen and talent necessary to finish tasks and deliver.

Outsourcing to an Interim CMO may be a great alternative if you require speed to market, experience, and direct impact on your business. Having an on-demand fractional CMO provides you with flexibility and future cost savings of potential hiring a full-time CMO that does not work out.

For small and medium-sized businesses, it rarely makes make sense to hire a full-time CMO. Why pay the massive overhead of $300,000 or more when you can lease one for far less. Instead, businesses at an inflection point can protect that expense and use it for bringing in top transformational leadership with on-demand talent.

For larger organizations, there is a growing trend where many of the marketing organizational functions are better suited for lower-paid team members. The CMO’s primary role is to translate the strategic direction from the CEO and Board into monthly, quarterly, and annual marketing results. Those goals should be analyzed and turned into campaigns that are measured both qualitatively and quantitatively, ultimately driving business growth. A fractional CMO is a small percentage of the cost of senior marketing leaders.

How the CMO Is Your Marketing Coach

An interim CMO fills in any leadership gaps for your organization. Having the leadership of your interim or fractional CMO is essential, especially in lean organizations where C-level executives might not have the time to foster the expansion and development of their marketing department while growing the company in parallel.

The Fractional CMO can identify any weak spots. They also review the strengths of your team to reinforce their productivity needed upskilling. It’s important to remember that your marketing team is merely nearly as good as its weakest link. With the assistance of an interim CMO, issue assessment is upfront before they become a costly problem down the road.

The CMO is Becoming the Growth leader.

Based on studies from Cornell and the Digital Marketing Institute, sixty-eight percent of senior managers now expect CMOs to be growth drivers. This trend is no surprise to Proctor & Gamble’s former CMO, Kimberly Whitler, who believes, “Now, not only do marketers need to be finance experts, but they need to be technologists and understand the ways during which they will connect with consumers.”

The scope of the position continues to widen for Chief Marketing Officers, which is an ideal reason to employ a fractional CMO. This leader can balance between meeting pressing customer needs while generating revenue and facilitating growth for your business.

A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is an ideal solution for such challenges. According to several recent studies, over Eighty percent of CEOs report dissatisfaction with the performance of their CMO. That’s a quite staggering statistic. The Digital Marketing Institute reports that only forty-eight percent of CMOs have a strategic focus. The report indicated that CMOs require additional time to spend on assessing long-term growth plans. Half of them focus on reviewing budgets, managing campaigns, and content approval instead. This focus on growth leaves little time for his or her remit.

Next Steps In Hiring an Interim CMO

By spending a few hours a week inside your organization, your interim or fractional CMO will:

  • Engage with the CEO & Board’s to take the organization’s vision and turn it into a marketing strategy with sound implementation. 
  • Evaluate and coach the critical marketing talent the organization needs to achieve its goals
  • Work with the HR team in locating, recruiting and hiring qualified talent 
  • Conduct reporting to the senior executive team and Board key KPIs 
  • Strive to innovate ways to reach marketing and sales objectives


OVESTO bridges the gap for organizations. We are able to bring in experienced CMOs who can quickly grow your business. To learn more about our services, contact OVESTO, and hire one of our experienced interim or fractional CMOs.

fractional CMO


John R. Miles serves as a fractional CMO

John R. Miles is a Navy veteran and the founder and CEO of OVESTO, the leading provider of on-demand executive staffing. OVESTO provides transformational leaders for fractional, interim or project assignments. Miles is widely viewed as an expert on digital disruption, problem-solving, and business transformation. He is a highly sought after speaker, consultant, and writer. Miles has significant business experience as a Fortune 50 CIO, ASX 10 CISO, and seasoned private equity leader in CEO, CMO, and COO roles across several diverse industries. 



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